“Copyediting” (or “copy editing” or “copy-editing”) is a term with numerous interpretations. It’s often used interchangeably—and incorrectly—with “proofreading.”
Developmental editing is also called “substantive editing,” “content editing,” or “line editing.” But some copy editors also use the term “line editor” to describe their services.
You see the problem? If the professionals don’t always agree, how is a writer supposed to know which type of editor to hire?
Definition of COPY EDITOR*:
an editor who prepares copy for the typesetter
one who edits and headlines newspaper copy
— copy·ed·it transitive verb
— copy·ed·it /ˈkɑ:piˌɛdət/ verb, copy·ed·its; copy·ed·it·ed; copy·ed·it·ing [+ obj]
▪ He copyedits the dictionary.
Definition of PROOFREAD
to read and mark corrections in (as a proof)
“Developmental editing” doesn’t even exist in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.
Copyediting and proofreading services may include checking for:
- general grammar, word choice, sentence structure, and clarity
- tenses, wordiness, repetition, parallel structure
- punctuation, capitalization, spelling, headings and lists
- appropriate voice and tone for intended audience
- transitions between sections, chapters, parts
- adherence to editorial guidelines
- accuracy of cross-references
- subject-verb agreement
- pronoun-antecedent agreement
- appropriate use of modifiers
- slang/vernacular and sexist language
- proper and/or consistent font/typeface
- proper use of trademarks
- accuracy of glossary, cross-references, footnotes, and index
- proper use of abbreviations and acronyms
- proper use of numbers and symbols
- quotation mark errors, missing parentheses, wrong number of ellipsis points
- figures and tables mentioned in previous text
- running heads, footers, and page numbers
- errors in continuity
- formatting per style guide and/or template
- line, page, and section breaks
- proper appearance of graphics and illustrations
- accuracy of table of contents and formatting of levels
- appendixes in correct order
- bibliography/references/glossary terms are complete and properly alphabetized
- final pagination
Copyediting usually does not include:
- rewriting (which may be part of a developmental edit)
- checking for plagiarism
- ensuring the accuracy of text, graphics, tables, illustrations, and (sometimes) the accuracy of references/bibliography/index/glossary
- final proofreading before submission or publication.
Everyone who puts word on a page—even electronically—needs a professional proofreader. It’s common for writers/subsequent reviewers to introduce errors when adding or rewriting material. A final proofread checks for typographical and formatting errors. It should always be the last step before publication in any form.
The professional proofreaders who passed our infamous proofreading test are listed below.
Line editing, copy editing, content/developmental editing, proofreading, query letters
DAVID ALAN has edited more than 200 books and authored nearly 100 books for 30 publishers, including St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins, Lyons Press, Random House, Running Press, Warner Books, Total/Sports Illustrated, and Scholastic.
His books have generated more than $20 million in revenue and have appeared on the Today show, The Early Show, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. His rating on Goodreads.com is 4.2, based on more than 3,000 ratings.
Nonfiction Book Editor and Proofreader
PEGGY CAMPBELL has been editing nonfiction books for more than two decades, working for both top university presses and trade publishers, and several authors return to her for each book they write. She works as a developmental/line editor/substantive editor, copy editor, and proofreader, and is an expert user of the Chicago Manual of Style/Turabian.
She began freelancing after a long career at a newspaper reporter and editor at metro dailies, including editing stints at the San Jose Mercury News and Newsday. Her areas of expertise are history (especially American history), including biography, memoir, and autobiography; journalism; and politics and government, public affairs, and public policy; and equine subjects.
Books on whose manuscripts she worked have won a number of awards and named honors, including New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the Tankard Award; Choice Outstanding Book of the Year; National Jewish Book Award; Choice Outstanding Academic Title—and those are the ones she knows about. She has been privileged to edit forewords by such authors as John Kenneth Galbraith and Morely Safer. Campbell’s own work as a reporter was nominated for a Pulitzer, and various papers nominated that of her reporters when she was a newspaper editor.
Children’s Book Writer, Editor, and Illustrator
(Marlo is unavailable until September 2019)
MARLO GARNER has been editing books and teaching writing since the late 1990s. She teaches Writing for Children’s Books (picture books), Writing Chapter Books for Children, and various other writing and revision workshops.
She also works in an editorial advisory capacity, and a copyeditor and illustrator for a number of independent or educational publishers.
Her chapter book series—which contains numerous poems and rhyming verse—was released in 2010, and she is the author and/or illustrator of a number of other published books for children, including a picture book for Internet security giant AVG.
Marlo received first place in the ‘published’ division of the New England SCBWI 2013 illustration awards.
She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) .
Substantive Editing, Copyediting, Proofreading Fiction and Nonfiction for Children, Young Adults, and Adults.
JOAN GIARDINO is an editor, proofreader, and translator with more than 25 years’ experience in the book publishing industry. Her clients include major book publishers, authors, illustrators, theater directors, and personal historians.
She has edited or proofread hundreds of award-winning published books—children, middle-grade, and young adult fiction, nonfiction, adult fiction and nonfiction, biographies, and personal memoirs.
As an editorial consultant, Joan can:
- Ensure that the author’s voice is engaging, clear and authentic
- Make difficult information accessible and easy to understand
- Copyedits manuscripts, paying particular attention not only to grammar and punctuation, but to plot, characters, details, and stylistic consistency
- Oversee the book production process from raw manuscript to finished books
- Work with authors and illustrators to make sure commissioned artwork reflects the text
- Conduct research to find artwork and historical documents to enhance the text.
- Checking the accuracy of works translated into English from French and Italian
Authors and editors alike have benefited from Joan’s experience and expertise. Stephanie Rogers, the author of The Horse I Belong To, wrote, “My thanks would not be complete without recognizing my wonderful editor, Joan, who made everything she touched better.”
Developmental editor, copy editor, and writer with a background in criminal law and academics.
Karin specializes in apocalyptic fiction, autobiography, memoir, literary fiction, police procedural, narrative nonfiction, science fiction, thrillers, and true crime.
Karin Graham has a BA in comparative literature, a JD from William and Mary Law School, and a certificate in editing from the University of California Berkeley. If your novel has fight scenes or involves police procedures or the law, Karin is your specialist. Karin is a trained martial artist, with a third degree black belt in tae kwon do and years of training in hapkido. Karin is uniquely able to evaluate the realism of your fight scenes. She has accompanied police on search warrants, observed autopsies, and been to countless crime scenes. She has training in arson prosecution and investigations and has given lectures to investigators on the subject of search and seizure law and to college students about the insanity defense. She can help add realism to your writing.
David has worked on 100+ manuscripts that have landed publishing deals.
DAVID has built up a distinguished career as an editor, writer, ghostwriter, and filmmaker. His flair for the written word, creative acumen, and meticulous attention to detail has earned him a loyal following of clients in need of copy editing, content editing, developmental editing, or ghostwriting.
After earning his master’s degree in Journalism at Northwestern University, he spent five years working for an academic press and later for Hachette Book Group.
His long track record has given him exposure to a wide range of authors, writing styles, and genres, including novels, non-fiction works, self-help books, memoir, Christian and other spiritual writing, and business books.
Thesis and Dissertation Writing Consultant
He’s also a specialist in academic writing and often partners with graduate students to bring their thesis or dissertation to the next level.
Screenwriting / Filmmaker
With professional experience in both fiction and documentary film, as a producer, writer, and director, David is well versed in the art of cinematic storytelling and can edit or critique your screenplay.
Fiction Editor and Proofreader
CAROLINE HILEY specializes in editing novels for independent authors and traditional publishers, including small press and Big Five. She also handles novellas, short stories, and memoirs.
From decades of experience as an editor, along with her experience as an award-winning novelist, Caroline understands the entire writing process from first draft to publication. She helps novice and seasoned authors prepare their novels for self- or traditional publishing, including help not only with storycraft and production but also book submission documents, such as queries and synopses.
John David Kudrick
Christian Fiction and Nonfiction
With a BA in theology, an MA focused on fiction, and nearly two decades of editorial/writing experience, John David has been privileged to work with some of the finest publishers in the nation, including Bethany House, David C Cook, Barbour, NavPress, Realms Fiction, Marcher Lord Press, and Whitaker House – where, as senior editor, he worked on James Byron Huggins’ Nightbringer, a book that Library Journal named one of its annual top five Christian novels.
To date, John David has had the opportunity to serve as an editor on more than 175 published titles and to work with authors from across the US and around the world.
Developmental Editing, Line Editing, Copy Editing, Rewriting, Ghostwriting, Evaluations
A professional editor for over thirty years, E. M. Levy has edited books for Doubleday, Random House, Princeton University Press, Macmillan, Paulist Press, Prentice-Hall, SUNY Press, Scholastic, Scholars Press, Praeger, Solution Tree Press, and many other publishers and private individuals. His projects have received publishing and professional awards. For over seventeen years, he worked in-house as a senior editor focusing on developmental and substantive editing.
With a strong academic background, an advanced degree from Columbia University, and experience teaching at both secondary and college levels, he is at home in the social sciences and humanities. He has edited important works of religious scholarship. In the area of general nonfiction, he has worked in a variety of genres, including biography, public affairs, spirituality, and memoir. Many authors who are nonnative English speakers have turned to him to perfect their English written expression.
- Association of Academic Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award
- Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year
- Independent Publishers Book Award
- Learning Magazine’s Teacher’s Choice Award
- V. O. Key Award of the Southern Political Science Association
Editing and Formatting Services
Copyediting: grammar, spelling, punctuation, consistency, style
Line editing: sentence structure and clarity
Substantive editing: organization and structure
APA, Chicago, MLA, or according to university or publisher guidelines
Chicago to APA conversions
Tables, figures, and equations
LaTeX document editing
Holly Monty has been a dissertation editor, nonfiction book editor, and self-publishing consultant for more than a decade. Holly has edited 200+ nonfiction books published by top university and academic presses, including Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, MIT Press, University of Minnesota Press, University of New Mexico Press, John Wiley, W. W. Norton, Sage, Springer, Elsevier, Routledge, Greenwood, ABC-CLIO, Praeger, Cengage, and Teacher Ideas.
New York Times Bestselling and Award-Winning Book Editor
Fiction and Nonfiction: Literary, Historical, Mystery, Adult, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Erotica, Humor, New Age, Spirituality
Andrea Robb spent over a decade as an acquiring editor at Penguin Random House, working on key titles for Knopf, Doubleday, Pantheon, Vintage and Anchor Books. Prior to that, she was on the editorial team at The Book of the Month Club, where she evaluated hundreds of titles for club inclusion.
Notable fiction projects that Andrea has edited have included Jennifer McMahon’s NY Times bestselling novels The Winter People, The Night Sister, and Burntown; the NY Times bestselling Veronica Mars mystery series; the Harvard Lampoon’s NY Times bestselling parody Nightlight; the translations of Paulo Coelho’s internationally bestselling novels The Spy, Adultery, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Aleph; Whiting Award-winner Melanie Sumner’s How to Write a Novel; and Latifah Salom’s debut suspense novel, The Cake House.
Nonfiction projects include blogger and comedian Samantha Irby’s We Are Never Meeting in Real Life; Vela magazine founder Sarah Menkedick’s debut essay collection Homing Instincts; multiple anthologies in the bestselling Foxfire series on Appalachian history and culture; the political travel guide The Nation Guide to the Nation; and new editions of Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey’s Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction.
Manuscript Critiques, Publication Analysis, Writing, Editing, Proofreading, Nonfiction, academic, business, and technical editing
Polish provides luster, adds richness, and enhances beauty. It works on fingernails, shoes, furniture, even your car. Ginny Rogers specializes in polishing your writing, whether a book manuscript, a dissertation, or a business manual.
Snow Men, by Andrew Ceroni
First-place winner of the 2015 CIPA EVVY Award for Best Fiction – Action/Adventure genre
Winner of Outskirts Press Best Book of 2015 award
Honorable mention, Writer’s Digest 2015 book awards
Copy Editing and Proofreading Services
Fiction: Short Stories, Literary, Commercial, Mainstream, Young Adult and Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Detective/Mystery, Suspense, Action/Adventure, Romance, Women’s Fiction, Erotic, LGBTQIA
Nonfiction: Memoir, Biography, Self-Help, How-To, Religion, Spirituality, New Age, Business, Technical
As an editor, Marie is vigorous yet hands-off: she will find errors and inconsistencies with a sharp eye but lets the work stand for itself. She won’t change anyone’s work into her own. She finds each author’s unique qualities and makes those resonate. Besides offering an objective critique, Marie provides advice on presentation. This can involve discussions on formatting the manuscript as well as crafting query letters for agent and publisher submissions, book marketing, and self-publishing.
- Manuscript Evaluations
- Copyediting and Proofreading
- Query & Synopsis Development
- Structural Editing
- Permissions Assistance
Marie has passed the rigorous proofreading test of this editing network, so you can trust that her edits will also clear up any typographical errors in your book. Marie knows how to identify inconsistencies in structure as well as style and spelling of key terms. She is fluent in Chicago Manual of Style as well as AP Style. She will adapt to your project’s own particular style and make sure it is consistent.
Developmental Editing, Ghostwriting, Copyediting, Proofreading
Fiction – literary novels, commercial fiction, mysteries
Nonfiction – memoir, biography, general nonfiction
Editor of 3 New York Times Bestsellers and 3 Los Angeles Times Bestsellers
Don White is an award-winning editor with more than twenty years’ of publishing experience. Among the notable writers he’s edited are Gore Vidal, Edward Albee, E. Lynn Harris, Edmund White, and Samuel R. Delany.
He’s equally at home in fiction (literary novels, commercial fiction, mysteries) and nonfiction (memoir, biography, general nonfiction). As an editor and writer he’s freelanced for Doubleday, Penguin, Bantam, Basic Books, and Beacon, among others.
Don has been singled out for distinction by the American Library Association, Publishers Weekly, and Out Magazine. As an independent scholar he’s authored three books on African American history as well as several books for gay and lesbian readers. He’s also an emeritus board member of the Lambda Literary Foundation. Don lives in New York City.
Christian Book Editor and Bookcrafter
I’m a veteran editor and writer, with four decades of full-time work in book publishing, focusing especially on Christian books of all kinds. I’ve also edited numerous business and leadership books, memoirs, and fiction titles.
I’ve partnerered with dozens of respected communicators in bringing out many notable works. These authors have included Louie Giglio, Carolyn Castleberry, Henry Blackaby, J. I. Packer, C. J. Mahaney, Ruth Myers, Randy Alcorn, Thelma Wells, Richard Blackaby, Tony Evans, John MacArthur, Larry Crabb, Larry Osborne, Andy Stanley, and Dave Harvey, to name just a few.
Many of my editing projects have involved extensive collaborative writing—especially developing content from various author sources such as sermon transcripts, message outlines, letters, and journal entries. I’ve worked to maintain the author’s voice and style, and I’m grateful to have often been commended by authors for doing exactly that.
As an author, I’m currently writing the third novel in a trilogy of historical fiction (currently being agented for consideration by publishers). I’ve also written extensively for children (using a pen name), with more than twenty books published. Three of my books were winners of the Christian Book Award (the “Gold Medallion”) from the ECPA trade publishers association.